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Acronis True Image Home is used in several of my examples. I'll walk through the steps of setting up the 2011 version.


In several of my responses, I mention Acronis True Home Image. Most presume that Acronis is, in fact, installed, or that the process of installing it is obvious to the casual observer.

That's not always the case.

Let me walk you through the steps of installing Acronis True Image Home 2011.

Setting Up Acronis True Image Home 2011

Acronis is a downloadable program available from the Acronis web site. Whether you purchase the program or just want to try it out, the download is actually the same. As we'll see during the install, there's a place to enter the serial number if you elect to purchase it. Either way, I encourage you to get it from their site to ensure that you're getting the correct and most recent version.

I received Acronis as a single program file: ATIH2011_6696_en-US.exe. As versions and names change, what you get may be somewhat different.

Running that file starts the Acronis setup program:

Acronis True Image Home 2011 Splash Screen

You can see that Acronis was unable to connect to its update server. In this example, I installed it on a new machine that's not yet connected to the internet.

Clicking on Install Acronis TrueImage Home at the top takes us to the setup wizard:

Acronis True Image Home 2011 Setup Wizard Start

After agreeing to the EULA (End User License Agreement), and choosing whether or not to participate in the Customer Experience Program, you'll have an opportunity to enter in the serial number for the purchased program:

Acronis True Image Home 2011 serial number entry

The serial number format used by Acronis is long enough that I copied it to a text file on another internet-connected machine. Then, I used a USB thumb-drive to get it to my new machine where I opened it in Notepad and copied/pasted the serial number into the form.

Next up is the setup type:

Acronis True Image Home 2011 setup type

No matter what I set up, I always choose Custom; I strongly recommend that you do the same. It's the one way to avoid unexpected hitchhikers on product installs. Acronis doesn't have any, but it's still a habit that I recommend.

Acronis True Image Home 2011 custom setup

The one change that I made was to not install the online backup option (I have my own approach so I will never use this).

Next is user selection:

Acronis True Image Home 2011 install for ... selection

For a single-user machine, there's theoretically little difference, but I almost always select "Install for all users that share this computer" so that no matter what accounts I might create in the future, I'll always have access to the program.

Finally, there's a summary:

Acronis True Image Home 2011 setup summary

Assuming that all is correct, click on Proceed and the setup commences.

Acronis True Image Home 2011 setup progress

After a few minutes, this message appears when finally complete:

Acronis True Image Home 2011 setup complete

Click on Close and ....

Acronis True Image Home 2011 restart required

Unfortunately, like most backup programs, Acronis does install some low-level software that requires that you reboot your machine in order to complete the installation.

After doing so, you can run Acronis True Image Home 2011:

Acronis True Image Home 2011

You might notice a "Show at startup" checkbox in the lower left. I actually recommend unchecking that. While the shortcuts on the splash screen sound inviting, my experience is that they make more assumptions than I would like and ultimately end up causing confusion.

In my opinion, selecting Go to the main screen (Use all the program functionality.) is the way to go, both now and when you run Acronis in the future.

Article C4754 - March 2, 2011 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

March 2, 2011 11:17 PM

One more question that arises: does the installer already premake the acronis safe zone, the special space allocated on a harddisk that only acronis can access? I've had problems with full-disk encryption and programs like these (windows installer too by the way) getting it messed up because they assume the encrypted drives are empty if they can't find a filesystem.

If you avoide the "fancier features" of Acronis, no SafeZone is created. I, too, dislike it and never ever use it.

March 8, 2011 5:19 PM

I could not see any mention of the bootable disk that I gather should be burnt? Have I missed something?

Nope. That's a separate step that, while important, can be done at a later time and will someday be a later article.

March 8, 2011 6:51 PM

Gwyn, did you look in "Tools & Utilities", there under "Protection Tools" you should find the "Rescue Media Builder" option.

March 8, 2011 7:15 PM

Leo, good introduction to installing the program. However, it is most important that every user should turn on Validation (which is off by default) as soon as possible after installation, since a corrupted backup would be useless. Validation will then check each backup image after it is created, to make sure it will work if and when you might need that image.

Dave W
March 8, 2011 10:03 PM

I am using a 500gb external USB Western Digital as my backup drive on an XP Ver3 system. It is currently FAT32. Acronis TI Home 2011 says I need to have it set up as NTFS. When I try to convert the drive after having done a CHKDSK I get errors that stop the conversion.

Going back to Acronis 9.0 I get "The selected file is not an Acronis True Image Home Archive." In fact Acronis 9 build 3854 gives me the same message for backups created with Acronis 9 build 2247 and vice versa although 2247 not being able to read 3854 does make a little sense. With either build, I can only open backups created on the machine I am using. Neither build will open backups from another laptop - one with a fried motherboard that I desperately need to get the data from.

If I get my backups onto a NTFS drive, will I be able to read them with 2011?

The filesystem should not affect the contents of existing backups. While I do agree that NTFS is the way to go here, I'm not sure what to tell you about the cross-version incompatibility.

March 9, 2011 3:33 AM

Dennis - I know the program has details of how to produce a rescue disk. I was just wondering why Leo did not mention the importance of producing one in his otherwise excellent article.

Rich A
March 9, 2011 8:44 PM

I'm a long time user of Acronis True Image. Been faithfully upgrading it since it first came out. Recently I upgraded my operating system to Win 7 Pro 64-bit. My most recent TI upgrade was the latest (ver 11) I've had nothing but trouble with it. I did some research and found many other 64-bit users are having problems as well. I finally removed the product and found a freeware imaging program that works okay. I'd like to go back to True Image, but I guess I'll have to wait for version 12. The problem that I and others seem to be having are unique to Windows 7 64-bit operating systems. It works fine on my XP 32-bit system. And I did check with Acronis before I paid for the upgrade to insure it was supported in a 64-bit OS.

For the record, my machine is 64bit and the examples above are all taken using it. I'll reiterate that I find the most problems with Acronis' fancier features. I stick to manual or scheduled disk backups only and it's worked for me. I'd heard of the issues with 2011 and was expecting problems but it went flawlessly for me.

Sandy Smith
March 10, 2011 9:32 PM

I also have used Acronis for many, many years and ran into trouble with TI 2011 on my 64 bit Windows 7 Ultimate. It has been a disaster... I keep trying each new build, but no success. I use TI 2010 on my 64 bit machine.

March 14, 2011 9:03 AM

Acronis only supports so many previous versions. I think the number is two prior releases, but check the web site to be sure. I always keep a copy of previous versions' rescue disks around in case I'm trying to restore an old backup from an Acronis that's "too new".

That's actually very good advice. I recommend keeping not only the rescue disk, but also the original install software for any backup programs you use.

March 19, 2011 9:51 AM

I have the boxed version of ATI 2011 home. What is the best way to check if I need to upgrade and what is the best method for this? Is it better to uninstall boxed version and then just install upgrade from on-line? (I'm going to uninstall boxed version anyway because I want to change it to customized install). Thank you.

I don't think it matters. I'd probably install the boxed software and then on the help menu "check for updates".

Charles Tilley
March 22, 2011 9:25 PM

I signed up for Acronis's recent promo, for every user that signed up, one cent was reduced from it's price. The promo is over, I can get the latest Acronis True Image for $24.99.

Now my question, will the new version of Acronis be able to restore the backups that I made with Acronis True Image Home 2010? What I have is working for me, I don't want to mess what I have up, but if the newer supports what I have, I'd like to take the plunge for the newer version.

Any advice on this?


Yep, it's backwards compatible. I've actually made use of that a time or two myself.

Frank D
April 5, 2011 1:09 PM

Leo, a summary of my experience with Acronis.

Because of your recommendations, I researched Acronis True Image Home on its forum ( and determined that, as other users have commented on your site, the 2011 version seems to be problematic when used in conjunction with the Win7 64-bit operating system (which I have). So I invested in the 2010 version, which according to the forum seemed to be relatively free of problems. I was able to find a copy on sale for $19.99.

I can report that am _very_ happy with it. I've used both the regular full system backup, with incrementals, and the full system NonStop Backup, which is similar (I'm told) to the Mac's _Time Machine_. The NonStop Backup is what I'm using now and what I'll continue using because it works so well. In three months of using NSB, I've done one full system restore, which worked perfectly. And whenever I need a file from a day, a week or a month ago, I just browse the NSB using the _Time Explorer_ feature and copy that file to where it's needed.

I think that (the 2010 version of) this program is the height of reliability and simplicity and I highly recommend it.

Frank D

Jim H
April 9, 2011 5:55 AM

I just made the leap to Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit myself. I did some reading on it from a couple great books, one being Windows 7: The Missing Manual by David Pogue and Windows 7 Inside Out by Bott, Siechert, and Stinson before my new PC and its W7 OS arrived. I have also read about Windows 7 online.

Something I came across beforehand was that some programs will not install correctly if the are not installed as administrator. Others will install OK but don't run right after installation. As Leo explained in another article, with Windows 7 just because you have an administrator account does NOT mean everything you try to do is attempted with full administrator privileges.

Using "Install as Administrator" after a program gives you trouble trying to install it may well solve your problem. if a program is giving you fits after it is installed it often takes less time to uninstall it and re-install as an administrator than to fuss and fiddle with it to try to get it to work right.

Thinking back on setting up my new PC I did encounter both situations about 4 or 5 times each. I have almost 600 GB of stuff on my PC , some 500 GB on a 1.5 TB secondary drive and about 100 GB on a 160 GB solid state primary drive. This includes a bunch of different programs so i can't remember every single one.

This I do know: The Install as Administrator fixed the problems every time, both installation and improper operation.

I didn't install Acronis since I have an old version and plan to get a new one. But, among the programs that many complained about with the 64 bit OS was Corel Paintshop Pro Photo X3. The complaints were both that it did not work at all or ran very poorly when used with 64 bit Windows 7. There were slowdowns, lock-ups, crashes, etc. Mine installation works perfectly.

I also read of a myriad of problems with MS Office 2003 on the same 64 bit OS. Knowing what I read ahead of time I did the Install as Administrator right off. All the programs I have used in the suite work perfectly.

I have yet to find a program I have been unable to install and have not found one that will not run with Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit.

To use Install as Administrator, find the setup or installation file for the program, be it in a folder from a download or by opening or exploring a disk. Right click on the installation/setup icon or command and select "Install as Administrator" from that menu's list. Everything runs the same from there on.

I won't try to venture an explanation of why I think this is. All I know the Install as... command is there for a reason and it has solved installation and operational problems for me.

I hope this helps some of you.

March 22, 2012 7:36 PM

Can I use my PC while Acronis is backing up Disk Partition

March 22, 2012 9:05 PM

Most people schedule it to run in the middle of the night when they (hopefully) aren't working.

Here's an article on that:
Scheduling automatic backups with Acronis

March 24, 2012 12:40 AM

Hi Leo
What is the main difference between Acronis true image and Acronis Plus.
Thank you

Mark J
March 24, 2012 2:24 AM

Acronis Plus Pack is an add-on for Acronis True Image. Here's what Acronis say about it:
Acronis Plus

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